All I could think after reading the announcement for Amazon's Kindle Fire tablet this morning was: "this is what we've been waiting for." Because it is. Amazon gets tablets, believe it or not. And despite the flagging success of the Amazon Appstore, the company has done what no other tablet manufacturer has even come remotely close to: matching access to Apple's curated content library (iTunes + App Store) at a price nearly everyone can afford.
It has been a long time coming, and even though we already knew basically everything about the device, Amazon just officially unveiled its very own Android tablet: the Kindle Fire.
The Fire is a 7-inch tablet/e-reader with an IPS display running at 1024x600, powered by a 1GHz dual-core TI OMAP4 processor and a heavily modified version of Android. Of course, it will be lacking any and all Google Apps, including the official Android Market.
It seems Barnes and Noble gave everyone a bit of a surprise today. It was expected that the bookseller would be launching a 3G version of its wildly popular NOOK e-reader (or maybe even a 3G NOOKcolor), but instead, B&N went straight for the competition's throat, launching the 6-inch e-ink display sporting, Android-powered (albeit Android 2.1) NOOK Simple Touch Reader. And all for the low, low cost of $140 - a price suspiciously reminiscent of a certain other e-book reader.
We just got word from Amazon that there is a new version of the Kindle app for Android available that brings numerous optimizations for tablets running Honeycomb, effectively making a Kindle out of your non-Kindle tablet. Here's the full press release:
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: A major national bookseller decides that they want to make "The Reader’s Tablet." So they grab the Android source code, and they don’t bother to get their device approved by Google so that it can run their apps. Instead, they charge full speed ahead, with not just a custom UI layer but a complete reimagining of what an “Android” device should look like.
The app drawer?
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Amazon's been making waves in the Android blogosphere recently with such new products as the Appstore and the Cloud Player, but it looks like they're not done yet; in fact, they're only just starting.
Amazon has updated their Kindle for Android app to the ridiculously-numbered version 22.214.171.124810146. With the update comes a few notable new features:
- Access to over 100 Kindle newspapers and magazines
- "Move to SD Card" option
- In-app purchases
- Social network integration
- Chapter titles now show in the reader status bar
- Zoom for images
- Volume rocker can function as page up/down
The app supports all versions of Android from 1.6 up. And don't forget - your purchases are linked by account, not device - meaning any books you purchase on your actual Kindle can be accessed in the Kindle app on your phone.
What is Google eBooks?
Google unveiled its long-awaited eBook store this morning. What makes it different from, say, the Amazon eBook store? Well, sheer selection of titles for one: Google's eBooks has debuted with over 3 million pieces of literature to choose from - including a vast library of free and public domain materials, many of which you won't find anywhere else (trust me). It would appear Google's massive digitalization efforts have paid off.
This morning, Borders’ website was updated with new instructions for obtaining the Borders eBooks reader app for Android, in conjunction with its launch of the Borders eBooks store.
The app (as stated above) will only work on Android 2.0+ devices. Once you create a Borders eBooks account (which can be done entirely through the app), you can purchase eBooks in-app (uh-oh Kindle for Android) and read them straight away! We’ve provided a couple of screens below.
Update: The Kindle for Android app is now available to the masses, and can be found via a simple market query for “Kindle”or the QR code below.
The app appears as it does in the preview; upon booting it offers up a registration/sign in screen. Upon sign-in, the app pulls your purchased books from Amazon’s Kindle Bookstore servers and transfers them to your device. A link to a mobile-optimized version of the Kindle Bookstore is available by a press of the menu button while in the app.